The idea came up when we started our co-op terms and moved to completely new places. It can be very isolating because you have no one to talk to from your building. That's why we decided to make a social media platform dedicated to building communities in housings - for people to socialize and meet up with each other. In addition, we can become a supportive community by helping your neighbours with small things, like lending them a vacuum cleaner!

What it does

GooseNet acts as a community for an apartment building where people can chat freely and anonymously in group chats. There are different sub groups available (i.e. lunch group, lending group). People can also make posts where other people can comment freely without having to reveal their identity. Our platform will have a great deal of anonymity attached to it, creating a safe space for every single one of our users.

GooseNet focuses on anonymity. Since the start of a lease, we have landlords give tenants a private subscription code in person, which the tenants can use to sign in as an occupant. Only then will the tenant be granted permission to view and join private groups associated with their unit, floor, and building. The app also makes sure to revoke previous tenants' app privileges. Moreover, everybody is given fun fake names randomized every 24 hours. But for people who seek more interaction, we provide a friending system where users can give consent to lift this layer of anonymity with certain people they trust.

How we built it

For our backend, we used Google's Firebase to store the posts and chats within a group. For our Frontend, we used Next.JS and React to create chat screens, threads and posts, as well as maintenance requests. We used SurveyMonkey's API to power our maintenance requests as well as collecting tenant feedback. For the Android app, we simply used a WebView of our website, which was optimized for mobile.

Challenges we ran into

It was hard to integrate a real time group chat, and setting up Firebase for the group chat took quite a long time. Making plenty of features for the app in such a short time is also very challenging.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud to make a functional group chat where people can actually talk to each other anonymously. We are also proud to integrate SurveyMonkey's API into our app which can greatly benefit tenants and building management. This allows landlords and managers to be able to conveniently view the data in real-time. We are very proud to have made this app from scratch within 36 hours, and have a working prototype that can actually be used immediately!

What we learned

We definitely learned many new technologies including React, Firebase, SurveyMonkey's API, and many more. More than that, Hack the North itself provided a great environment for us to learn more about our passion in software development.

What's next for GooseNest | An anonymous community for your Apartment

Our main goal is to allow concurrency - that means every apartment will get their own community. In addition, we are also planning to give building managers a certain power to make their tenants' lives easier. Our planned features include convenient payment of hydro, gas and other utility bills.

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